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Archive for August, 2009

Sunday Nite (on a Monday Morning)

I just couldn't post last nite… too spent in every way imaginable. All I wanted to do was get in my bed and try, as best as I could, to process everything that I have experienced this weekend. This is my feeble attempt to put it all into words.

  • I don't know how to adequately share with you that which I've experienced this weekend. I have seen some of the highest highs only to be immediately followed by challenges that dropped me to my knees (which by the way, is not necessarily a bad thing, just hard sometimes).
  • I began my weekend over at Mt. Airy Baptist Church leading worship for the NC Baptist State Convention Southeastern Prayer Conference, "Call to Me". This was an incredible event that placed me under the teaching of Dr. Henry Blackaby, who has had a HUGE impact on me as a follower of Christ. I'll talk about this later this week but just have to say what an honor. 
  • Spiritual Warfare was definitely happening at the conference (more about that this week).
  • On Sunday morning, after leading the 1st service music, I felt a spiritual attack happening to the point of having to find a quiet place to open the Word and allow God to speak deeply into my Spirit. Literally, I felt 2 Corinthians 12:10 manifest in me while God showed Himself strong on my behalf. He literally sent His joy to me and I was automatically renewed and strengthened and shown what it means in scripture when it is said, "The joy of the Lord IS my strength". Thank You, Jesus! 
  • As I prayed over the services early Sunday morning I felt myself being continually drawn to Psalm 103, to the point of actually opening both services by asking the congregations to read together God's Word that it might be spoken over the service, the building and their lives. 
  • After God's intercession for me after leading the 1st service I returned to lead the 10:30 service. One word: amazing! It is SO good to have the privilege to lead people to the place that He is… the presence of Jesus was very tangible in the place. 
  • Had multiple people share with me yesterday morning how much they love hyde park and how God is using you to make a difference in their lives. That never gets old. 
  • Prayed for multiple people yesterday in the area of strongholds in their lives and the lives of their loved ones. I love believing God's Word that reminds me that He is bigger than all of our problems and stronger than ANY stronghold.  
  • AM music: Today is the Day w/ Psalm 103 (Lincoln Brewster), Your Name (Paul Baloche), Shout to the Lord (Hillsong). That was literally only the 2nd time in about 3 years that we've sung "Shout to the Lord" – still a powerful song (i've just sung it too much through the years) – used sparingly, it is a beautiful reminder of all God is.  
  • We returned at 6pm for a "Nite of Worship"… um, WOW!!!! 
  • iN the middle of "nite of worship" God gave us grace to have a powerful time of prayer. No doubt, God was ministering to the Body with the Body… people, pouring out their hearts to God. 
  • I had the opportunity (and privilege) to lay hands on and pray for my earthly dad during that time - that was worth every bit of it. And to get up from my knees and to see people ALL OVER THE AUDITORIUM praying for others around them…
  • if you weren't there YOU MISSED AN INCREDIBLE NIGHT IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LIVING GOD! I know you probably think I'm just trying to make you feel bad… SERIOUSLY… i don't remember the last time His presence was so strongly in our midst. I know that some of you probably had straight-up conflicts, but for those of you who literally chose not to attend because it wasn't high enough on the list of things you should do: in my opinion, you did not choose wisely.  
  • Sorry about that last one… not trying to offend but I do want you to know how badly you needed to be in that place.  
  • Hearing the congregation "shake the foundations" with their voices (and through His Spirit) was so great… the crowd sang like they meant it. Hyde Park was battling for the Lord last night, "Ephesians 6 style". 
  • Had multiple friends whom I miss (and love) with us at hp yesterday – so good to see and worship with them!
  • Best part of Nite of Worship for me: I wasn't even worship leader! I was "the drummer" and I had one of the best seats in the house to witness MY TEAM leading you to the throne of God. I can't think of many times in my life that I have felt more blessed. EVER!
  • My family and I followed an amazing Nite of Worship by spending a few minutes with my Mom, Dad, Grammie, Grampie and friends…  
  • …and it just got better from there as I received news from Alan Sealey that his wife, Karen (who had been hospitalized Saturday with chest pains) was going home and all tests were negative (you'll hear more about this later this week). Praise the Lord! 

After an amazing day with a lot of ups and downs (of which God is Lord over all) we ended with some surprising news as Pastor Dennis announced to the church that he will be retiring within the next 6 months. I have to say that the feeling of the room was (at least to me) shock. Not that we haven't talked about it, but I didn't know that it was coming which left me totally unprepared for the news. We'll have plenty of time to talk about all this as the sad day of his departure nears but may I just say publicly:

I am SO thankful that God placed Dennis Harrell in my life. God has used him to grow, stretch, challenge, edify and teach me in ways that are too numerous to name. The 10 years that I have been privileged to serve with him have been nothing less than supernatural. During that time we have seen hundreds of people profess faith in Jesus Christ and while our journey has taken us down incredible paths that we did not have the ability to forsee, God, in His Sovereignty, did. I love my Pastor and friend and thank God for the privilege of learning under such a great man of God.

Hyde Park family and friends, God IS in control – you may not have seen this coming but HE did – trust and be encouraged in that.  He's not gone yet… let's make the most of these next 6 months!!!

3 Reasons…

I am pumped about this weekend for 3 reasons!

REASON #1: 

Call_to_Me_Large Call to Me: A Southeastern NC Prayer Conference – it's not often that the Baptist State Convention actually hosts something in our region – it's even more infrequent that we have the opportunity to hear Dr. Henry Blackaby (Author, Experiencing God) and to have him to lead us to a deeper place as disciples of Jesus. I had this on my calendar to attend BEFORE I got the call to lead worship on it. I'm going – hope you are too! The conference is FREE – registration is not necessary. If your soul is thirsty, call to Him. You can see the schedule here.
REASON #2:

Calminchaos "Calm in Chaos – Week 4" – how many people have told me how encouraged they've been by this series? I'm looking forward to an amazing morning this sunday – you should be too!
REASON #3:

Slide10 "Nite of Worship" – this Sunday Nite at 6pm we will have a special Sunday evening worship/concert. We're looking forward to an evening of worship and prayer as we end our Summer of Service 2009 the same way we started it… PRAISE! 

As you know, "Nite of Worship" is a perfect time to invite friends to experience a different kind of church.
I pray that I'll see you at all of these events!

Who Would be to Blame?

"Worship demands purity. Over and over we have seen that the prerequisite to the privilege of entering God's presence is the recognition of personal sinfulness and a willingness to abandon that sinfulness. A consuming desire to be pure and clean is the normal result of being with God. The closer we draw to God, the more overwhelmed we become with our sinfulness… if the corporate worship in the church leaves people unchanged, the church is not really worshiping. If what goes on in the church service does not spur the saints to greater obedience, call it what you will, it isn't worship. Worship always results in a transformation, and the church is edified by it." – John MacArthur, Jr. 

What about you? Have you experienced transformation through worship lately? Who would be to blame? Maybe it's time to get to the root of the challenge.

Prayer Conference This Weekend!

Call_to_Me_Large I'm looking forward to being a part of the "Call to Me Southeastern NC Prayer Conference" this Friday and Saturday in Pembroke. The conference is sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of NC and features guest speaker, Dr. Henry Blackaby.

Henry Blackaby was huge in my development as a follower of Jesus. His study, "Experiencing God", helped me to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my daily life and guided me to understand what it means to be a Spirit-led believer. When I was struggling with my call to ministry and didn't know what to do or where to go next, my friend Eddy Covil (truly by God's intervention) gave me Dr. Blackaby's study, "God's Call". "God's Call" helped me to totally surrender to the call of God upon my life – I have since suggested this study to others hearing God's call.

It is with honor that I have been invited to lead worship at this conference this weekend and look forward to God once again speaking to me through the ministry of Henry Blackaby.

Do you know what would be awesome??? If you let God speak to you through Henry Blackaby and you can do that this week – the conference is TOTALLY FREE – it's not a "preacher conference" – it's for regular people who want believe in God's power in prayer and are open to diving in deeper. Here's the schedule:

Schedule
Friday, August 28
5:30 p.m.     Pastor & Staff Dinner (invitation only)
7:00 p.m.     Message
8:00             Prayer Time

Saturday, August 29
9:00 a.m.     Fellowship & Refreshments
9:15             Prayer Time
10:00           Worship
10:30           Message & Prayer Time

Remember, God has promised, 

3 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' (Jeremiah 33:3 – NIV)

Can You Smell that Smell?

In my own life I've noticed that it's easy to justify stuff… to look for the loop-holes… to want more "proof". "If God really wanted me to take such a big step He would give me a sign". Have you read this passage talking about signs lately:  (Matthew 12:38-40):

38Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."
 39He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matt 12:38-40)

Do you find it as ironic as I do that the people demanding a sign from Jesus were the ones who should have "got it"? 

I often find myself amazed at the way that we Christians repeat history – you know what I often say, "I'm never surprised but I'm ALWAYS amazed!". I've found myself amazed at how things are the same today. Maybe it's just me, but I've often observed that people who should "get" the signs don't. Sometimes it seems as if the only way that most people would "get it" or even "see it" would be through a divine encounter. Nevermind the fact that their communities are dead and without hope – their churches have no spiritual power and don't function as alive (with the witness of bearing fruit). 

Jesus pointed out that the only sign that they would receive is an encounter with death (v.40). Many believers (and churches) are in the midst of a spiritual near death experience and don't seem to have eyes to see their conditions – their spiritual lives and churches are in the belly of a great big fish and they can't seem to smell the stench. Open my nose, Lord, that I might see (and no, that's not a type-o – I know what I just typed – do you?)

"Lord, that YOU would give us eyes to see You in everything that we do!"